If there was ever a rugby league player that almost everyone would know – regardless of their interest in the sport – then it is Sam Burgess.
A hero on the field for South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL, Burgess produced an incredible legacy Down Under.
However, after retiring in 2019 from playing after a serious shoulder injury, drug and domestic violence accusations have been aimed at the former forward.
Then, in May, he pleaded guilty to three driving charges following a police traffic stop where he tested positive for cocaine.
Burgess has documented his attempts of improvements with him claiming to have stopped drinking.
And, in the launch episode for the new SAS Australia series, Burgess laid bare his emotions.
“I don’t think I was the greatest husband at times,” Burgess said.
“I embarrassed my wife and had an affair with a girl, a woman, in Melbourne – it would have been a tough place for Phoebe to be.
“When it came to emotional stuff – losing my two kids after seeing them every day, my marriage breakdown – that put pressure on my ex-wife.
“I didn’t like that. I hate that I caused pain for other people that I couldn’t manage.”
With almost 200 NRL games under his belt, Burgess had carved out a reputation for himself as one of the world’s greatest players, but the Bradford Bulls academy product was forced to retire two years ago with a shoulder injury.
“I got septic arthritis in my left shoulder and I didn’t realise what it was.
“By the time we went and had a look in surgery, it was just too far gone and the surgeon advised me to retire there and then.
“But it was mid-year, we were top of the ladder and I was captain of the club.
“I had three or four years left on my contract, so it was a bit of a knife to the heart.
“I can’t accept it, so I try to go back and play. I knew two games in that I couldn’t do my job any more, so I retired – it was sh*t.”
That forced decision to cut short his playing career there and then hurt Burgess.
“I’m struggling with it now, big time and two days after I retired, I separated in my marriage.
“I’ve actually put myself into rehab for four weeks just because my last 18 months have been crazy.
“Everything I touched turned to sh*t – then I started to get back on my feet again.”